- Crisis hits Ekiti chapter over alleged disqualification of aspirants
By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The screening committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in charge of Kogi State has disqualified four senatorial aspirants from Kogi West for contravening the guidelines.
THISDAY reliably gathered that the affected aspirants are the former acting Governor of Kogi State; Chief Clarence Olafemi; current member of Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Sunday Karimi; a former member of the State House of Assembly; Hon. Henry Ojuola and former Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Jimoh Ganiyu Salaudeen.
This is coming as the Ekiti State chapter of the main opposition party was yesterday embroiled in crisis as aspirants for the National Assembly seats in the 2019 general polls stormed the party and held a violent protest against their alleged disqualifications.
According to the screening committee’s report for Kogi State, the four senatorial aspirants from Kogi west contravened provisions of the party’s guidelines.
The committee disclosed in their report that Olafemi was disqualified because he failed to pay party levies and also claimed to be unemployed in his form and yet provided evidence of payment of tax.
The committee also confirmed that Karimi was disqualified for anti party activities as it was alleged that he had already collected African Democratic Congress (ADC) form, while Ojuola paid for three years’ tax in one day just few days ago.
However, the committee did not disqualify any senatorial aspirants from Kogi East and Kogi Central.
Meanwhile, PDP aspirant for the Federal House of Representatives, Ankpa, Omala, Olamaboro Federal Constituency Hon. Yusuf Adejoh, has cautioned the party against impunity and imposition of candidates.
Addressing journalists in Lokoja yesterday, he said such tendencies impacted negatively on the party in the past and should not be allowed again.
In a related development, the Ekiti State chapter of the PDP was yesterday embroiled in crisis , as aspirants for the National Assembly seats stormed the party secretariat and held a violent protest.
The aspirants for the six House of Representatives’ seats and their supporters at about 11.25.a.m besieged the party in a violent manner over alleged imposition of candidates by Governor Ayodele Fayose . They appealed to the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, to overrule the screening committee.
They also accused the members of the PDP screening committee led by Mr. Seye Shonuga of allegedly subverting the process to give way for automatic tickets to Fayose’s close allies and the present occupants of the seats.
The supporters of the aspirants beat up members of the Appeal Committee, led by Mr. Kazeem Oladipupo and State Working Committee (SWC) of the party that were at the secretariat to entertain their complaints .
The chairman of the screening committee was said to have been escorted out of the venue by security agents to prevent the irate party members from harming him.
The aspirants, who forcefully opened the Secretariat located in Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti, smashed the louver windows to send a signal that they were prepared to take on the governor.
The aggrieved aspirants include: Segun Olanipekun, Ademola Salami, Temitope Oluwatosin
Ajayi, Goke Omidiran, David Arowolo, Adekunle Ojo, Ibrahim Mumini Adewale, Victor Alale and Mrs. Kemi Adewumi .
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved contestants, Mr. Segun Olanipeun accused the screening committee of doing the bidding of Fayose to edge them out of the primary.
He said the committee allegedly disqualified them under the flimsy excuse that some of them defaulted in the payment of taxes, which was a false accusation.
Olanipekun said it was wrong for the committee to have allowed an individual to dictate to them.
“It was bad for the PDP that just lost the governorship election to be behaving in this manner. We were supposed to be given the opportunity to test our popularity in the primaries rather than resorting to imposition.
“Governor Fayose had earlier held a meeting with all aspirants and told us to withdraw from the race and made it clear that the candidates will be handpicked but we insisted that the primaries must be held.
“Our intention then for insisting on the primary was that, Ekiti electorate are very sophisticated. If they see PDP as being unserious by way of imposition, we may not make any remarkable showing in the elections.
“But we were taken aback to see the screening committee disqualifying us on flimsy excuses that we didn’t pay taxes